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Beyond the Gate

Honoring Winners of the 2023 Marcia Prewitt Spiller Teaching Excellence Award

The Marcia Prewitt Spiller Teaching Excellence Award commemorates the dedicated service of Marcia Prewitt Spiller, who served as Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Life from 2012 through 2022. Recipients of the award demonstrate many qualities of effective and exemplary teaching that Mrs. Spiller fostered during her tenure.

Recipients are chosen from each of the five schools, in addition to a teacher from the Transition Program. This year's winners, announced on January 3, were:

Transition Teacher - Erin Dunkle (4th grade Transition)
Primary School - Jazmyn Roach (3rd grade Transition)
Lower School - Lindsey Majekodunmi (6th grade teacher)
Middle School - Debra Smith (Math teacher)
Upper School - Rachael Szymanski (English teacher)
Woodward North - Rhonda Nichols (Pre-K Teacher)

Selection criteria for the award includes: 

  • Passion for teaching
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Adaptability in teaching methods
  • Ability to connect with a wide range of learners
  • Encouragement of student passions outside of the classroom
  • Collaboration with faculty, peers, and administrators
  • Proactive communication with parents

Award recipients receive a $1,000 stipend to use as they wish and will present their unique approach to teaching to their faculty colleagues.

Scroll through the gallery below to see what others had to say about this year's winners!


  • MSfaculty
  • USfaculty
  • awards
  • faculty

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Your child’s education is a unique journey of growth, enlightenment, and exploration as they find their way into the world. At Woodward, we provide the compass for that journey.